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Retro-Art

Ralf Metzenmacher paints modern, unaffected still lifes using the painting technique of the old masters. His oil paintings radiate bright intense colour with modern hues luminous in their quality. At first glance the style is evocative of Pop-Art. Indeed the artist refers to his work as a "further development" of Pop-Art. This art movement emerged independently in England and the USA during the 50s and effectively combines art with graphics. In contrast, the new Retro-Art style merges art with product design.  As opposed to the very straightforward two-dimensional portrayals so typical of Pop-Art, Metzenmacher's Retro-Art paintings feature three-dimensional spatial representations. Pop-Artists took their themes from comic strips and advertisements. Whilst Ralf Metzenmacher, paintbrush artist®, finds much of his inspiration in youth culture and areas of lifestyle and design, he also looks to society and politics for his stimuli.

Ralf Metzenmacher sees his Retro-Art technique as a revitalization of 17th century still life painting. It is often difficult, some would say near impossible, for today’s viewer to decipher the meaning behind these old paintings; to determine the connection between the objects depicted and that which they represent. And so Metzenmacher has made it his goal to make use of simple, easy to understand symbols.  Some examples include: "The Cherry Rose", "Piercing", "The Melon Princess", and "The Crown". His Retro-Art style takes familiar forms and either renders them abstract or develops them into something new yet still reminiscent of their original form (e.g. mussels, snails). Metzenmacher portrays existing forms in an alternative way and adds new elements in order to clarify new connections and content. This approach is comparable to the modus operandi of product design, where designers draw upon an existing model to help them evolve the next generation.





By analysing different still lifes, Metzenmacher came to appreciate the complexity of the composition of these paintings. Recognising this as another obstacle to people endeavouring to understand their content today, he concluded that a modern revitalization of still life would only make sense if the new pictures were simply and clearly constructed.  He therefore decided to depart from the path of the traditional Flemish and Dutch still life technique and to develop his own style of painting in which one picture would solely represent one individual object. He determined that this self-imposed rule should be only be waived if the statement of the painting required it to contain more than one object. It is for this reason that he developed cycles of pictures portraying different facets of the same theme - thereby avoiding complexity. Each painting represents just one aspect of the central subject.  Several paintings are necessary in order to fully portray a concept like "masculinity".  The "Lord of the Crown" cycle is sub-divided into "brotherliness", “man as a hunter”, "sexuality", "man as a show-off" and "the child within the man."

Through his painted stories, Ralf Metzenmacher presents his own personal view of the world in a very modern way. He criticises human behaviour and our obsession with self-image.  In "the Horned One", "Lots of Smoke around Sex" and "Reptile Benz", he has pictorially created provocative statements which clearly express his own viewpoint. 

The colour composition of his original paintings is solely governed by the subject matter and is selected for its ability to provide fundamental support to the statement of the painting. "The Crowning of Creation" cycle symbolically portrays the woman as a precious gemstone. The colour composition corresponds to that of gemstones, namely ruby red, lapis lazuli blue, emerald green and gold yellow.
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Ralf Metzenmacher | Am Leinritt 9a 96049 Bamberg | Tel: +49 (0) 951 95 70 174 | eMail: info@ralf-metzenmacher.com | Imprint